It can happen to anyone: you lose your keys, or you lock yourself out of your apartment. Don’t panic, there are solutions. This guide will show you what to do in such situations, and how much it will cost you.
Calling a locksmith
If you can’t get into your apartment, you need to call a locksmith (Schlüsseldienst). They will open your door for you, but they will charge you a fee. The fee depends on the time of the day and the difficulty of the job. It can range from 50 € to 150 €, or sometimes even more.
To avoid being scammed by some locksmiths, you should always ask for the price on the phone before they come. If possible, ask for a fixed price, not an estimate. You can also call different locksmiths near your area and compare their prices. Some locksmiths have good reviews online, such as Albert Schlüsseldienst in Berlin or Aufsperrdienst Johann Wernhardt in Munich.
When the locksmith arrives, you need to prove that you live in the apartment. You can show them your passport or your Meldebescheinigung. If you don’t have any of this handy, it might be a bit difficult. They might ask for confirmation from your landlord before starting the work. Once done, you should also ask for a receipt and keep it. You might be able to get reimbursed by your household insurance (Hausratversicherung), if you have one.
Replacing your keys
If you still have your keys, but you need extra copies, you can go to any locksmith and ask them to make new keys for you. This is usually cheap and easy, around 5 € per key.
However, if you need to replace your building key (the key that opens the main entrance of the building), you need permission from your Hausverwaltung. They will give you a card (Schlüsselkarte or Schließplan) that you need to bring to the locksmith. Building keys are more expensive to replace, around 50 € per key.
Some locksmiths might make a copy of your building key without permission, but this is risky. If you move out, you need to give back all your keys to your landlord. If they notice that one key is different, they might charge you for it.
Paying for the locks
If you lose your keys, or if they are stolen, you might have to pay to change the locks of your apartment and the building. This can be very expensive, and your landlord can take the money from your security deposit (Kaution).
The amount you have to pay depends on the situation. If your keys were stolen, and you reported it to the police, you are not responsible for the costs. If your keys were lost, but there is no risk of someone finding them and entering your apartment, you are also not responsible for the costs. For example, if you dropped your keys in a lake, or if your keys have no address on them.
However, if your keys were lost, and there is a risk of someone finding them and entering your apartment, you are responsible for the costs. For example, if your keys have your address on them, or if you lost them near your apartment. In this case, you need to change the locks for security reasons, and you have to pay for it.
Other things to consider.
Here are some other tips to avoid losing your keys or locking yourself out:
Always have a spare key somewhere safe, such as with a friend or a neighbour you can trust.
Never leave your keys inside the lock of your door. This can prevent you from opening the door from the outside, even if you have another key.
Don’t put your address on your keychain. This can help someone find your apartment if they find your keys.
If you lose your keys, report it to your landlord and your Hausverwaltung as soon as possible. They might have a spare key for you, or they might help you find a solution.
If you lose your passport or other important documents, report it to the police and your embassy immediately. You will need to get new ones as soon as possible.
Does a Household contents insurance cover lost keys?
In general, household contents insurance in Germany covers the cost of a locksmith and many other expenses caused to you because of it. However, some traditional insurances may not cover this cost entirely or not cover it at all. Therefore, it's a good idea to check with your insurance provider or switch to a new one.
Feather has an impressive household contents insurance that covers the belongings in your apartment, such as furniture, electronics, clothes, and jewellery. It protects you from losses caused by events such as fire, water damage, vandalism, or theft. Household contents insurance also covers some additional expenses, such as accommodation during emergencies or moving costs.
Some of the things that are covered by household contents insurance are:
Water damage (from pipes or containers)
Fire (including smoke and explosion)
Vandalism (during a break-in or otherwise)
Moving (both apartments are temporarily covered)
Lost keys (up to €500 per year)
You also have the possibility to customise your coverage with add-ons, such as bicycle theft, broken glass, negligence, or moving expenses. However, some things are not covered by household contents insurance, such as building fixtures, blown fuses, pipes under the floor, or large-scale conflict.
Losing your keys or locking yourself out is not a pleasant experience, but it’s not the end of the world. There are ways to get back into your apartment, and to replace your keys. However, you should always be careful with your keys, and try to avoid losing them or leaving them inside. This will save you time, money, and stress.